Wartime Food Propaganda: Militarizing the Home Economy

In my explorations of peace and food, I’ve become aware of a whole era and subject matter that we’ve hitherto overlooked… wartime food propaganda.  The following is a series of posters from (mostly) North America during the First and Second World Wars.  I won’t say much, except that I find the language incredibly potent, the links between war and food outrageous, and the fear-mongering unconscionable.  And Victory Gardens are precursors to the modern-day community garden.  Just saying.

Read more about the Women’s Land Army here.

w wfa grown your own 234x300 War Food Administration Victory Garden Posters

Home Sweet Home Front - 'A clear plate means A clear conscience' Poster

poster of Rosie the Riveter.

This last image is less about food and more about woman, and her depiction as an important player in the war economy, working ‘men’s jobs,’ contributing to the war effort, etc, but somehow it still speaks to me of the ‘arming’ or militarization of the home economy.  Food growing, preparing, and consuming become sites of violence and the kerchiefed woman appears as the muscled aggressor.  Though this image was originally created to motivate women workers in an Ann Arbour factory during the war, it later became adopted widely by the women’s movement as a symbol of women’s empowerment.  Does it grab anyone reading this in the way it grabs me? Or is it just its suggestive inclusion in the rest of these food+war materials that brings one’s mind to this place?

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One thought on “Wartime Food Propaganda: Militarizing the Home Economy

  1. One of the interesting outcomes of these messages to eat less meat and fat and to grow victory gardens of vegetables, is that rates of disease declined in developed countries during the war years and then shot up again post-war as people returned to meat and dairy-centric diets and followed new food propaganda messages about “balanced” diets create from the four food groups.

    Thanks for your pictures and account of the conference…that was great.

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